Congress Should Increase Financial Protection to the Public from Accidents at DOE Nuclear Operations.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC ENERGY AND MINERALS DIV
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Since the Federal Government is still committed to fostering private industry involvement in nuclear energy, and since alternative methods for insuring the public against the potential hazards of a catastrophic nuclear accident do not provide as much financial protection as does the Price-Anderson Act, we believe that the financial protection provided DOE-contractor operations is still needed. Differences in the treatment of DOE-contractor operations under the Price-Anderson Act, however, serve to provide less financial protection to the public against losses from nuclear accidents from DOE-contractor operations than from licensed commercial activities. Because DOE contractors are covered by only one layer of financial protection, current coverage is 60 million lower than for commercial licensees. Thus, the public may not be equally compensated if damages exceed 500 million. Further, as more commercial reactors are licensed to operate and the limit on liability rises on the commercial side, this gap in coverage will widen. In our opinion, public financial protection should be consistently applied, regardless of who is performing the nuclear activity.
- Administration and Management
- Safety Engineering
- Nuclear Power Plants and Fission Reactor Engineering